**Introduction:**

In the intricate world of finance and accounting, simplicity and clarity are not just luxuries; they are necessities. One of the mechanisms that serve this purpose are financial ratios. As deceptively simple as they may seem, these ratios serve as powerful tools for interpreting raw financial data, providing insights into a company's profitability, liquidity, operational efficiency, and overall financial health. Understanding these ratios is not just for financial analysts or investors; it's crucial for anyone involved in managing, analysing, or investing in a business, including accountants, corporate managers, and executives. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the DuPont Pyramid, a seminal model in financial ratio analysis, alongside with two significant types of financial ratios, Debt Ratios and Profitability Ratios, and their connection within the framework of the DuPont Pyramid.

photo source - https://theconstructor.org/construction/financial-ratios-construction-business/566058/

**Leverage Ratios:**

Leverage ratios are key financial metrics that give a general idea of the company’s overall debt load and financial health, particularly it shows ability to meet its financial obligations. These ratios measure the degree to which a company use borrowed money, also known as leverage, to finance its operations. The higher the leverage, the more the company is dependent on borrowed money, which can be quite risky. However, if managed properly, leveraging can also help to increase returns on investments as it is always cheaper to take debt than to make someone invest in your company. Here are two most common leverage ratios:

1. Debt ratio – measures the extent of a company's leverage. It is equal to Total Debt over Total Assets and is interpreted as the proportion of a company assets that are financed by debt. The greater this ratio is, the more leveraged the company and the greater its financial risk.

2. Debt-Equity Ratio – compares firms’ total debt to its total equity. It is equal to Total Debt over Total shareholder equity. This is measurement of how much suppliers, lenders, creditors and obligors have committed to the company versus what the shareholders have committed. A lower percentage means that a firm is using less leverage and has stronger equity position. Perfect ratio is considered to be two to one.

**Profitability ratios:**

Profitability ratios are ratios that are used to assess a business ability to generate earnings as compared to its expenses and other relevant costs incurred during a specific period. They help to assess how profitable firm is and how it is performing, the higher it is the better. They also can help you to compare firms’ performance with that from the past. Here are three most common profitability ratios:

1. Return on Assets (ROA) – indicator of how profitable a company is compared to its total assets. ROA is Net Profit over Total Assets; it is usually expressed as a percentage and it gives and idea as to how efficient management is at using its assets to generate earnings.

2. Return on Equity (ROE) – ratio which shows amount of net profit returned as a percentage of shareholders equity. ROE equals to Net Profit over Shareholders equity. This ratio measures corporation’s profitability by revealing how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested

3. Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) – measures a company’s profitability and the efficiency with which its capital is employed in the process. ROCE is Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) over Capital employed (Assets – Current liabilities), Current liabilities are a company’s short-term financial obligations that are due within one year or within normal operating cycle, so by deducting Current Liabilities from Assets we get Capital Employed which is an estimate of total capital that the company has employed to run its operations and generate profits.

**How Dupont Pyramid works:**

Created by Dupont corporation in 1920s, this seminal model in financial analysis brings together various aspects of a company's financial performance into a comprehensive framework. The DuPont Analysis or the DuPont Pyramid dissects a company's Return on Equity (ROE) into multiple components, providing a more granular view of how a company's assets efficiency, operational efficiency and leverage drive its ROE. In this model ROE equals to product of Profit Margin (Profit over sales), Total Asset Turnover (Sales over assets) and the Equity Multiplier (Assets over Equity). Through the application of the DuPont Analysis, investors, analysts, managers and accountants are afforded the opportunity to delve into the underlying factors influencing shifts in ROE, as well as comprehend the reasons behind categorizations of ROE as high or low. Essentially, the DuPont Analysis facilitates the identification of whether the primary driver of ROE is profitability, asset utilization, or indebtedness. For example, If the return on equity increased because debt increased, which increases assets and equity multiplier as a result, this might not always be good. Here is more in-depth explanation of each part of Dupont pyramid:

1. Profit margin (Profit over Sales) is a measure of operating efficiency, so it tells us how efficient doe the business run and how efficient it is in producing profits. Increase in it means that for every pound earned in revenue more will be received in profit.

2. Total Asset Turnover (Assets over Equity) is a measure of efficiency of use of assets, so it is indicator of the efficiency with which a company is deploying its assets. The higher the Total Asset Turnover, the better it Is as more revenue is generated per unit of asset.

3. The Equity multiplier (Assets over Equity) is the measure of corporations financial leverage. This multiplier is variation of debt ratio and it indicates proportion of financing that is being done through debt.

photo source - https://365financialanalyst.com/knowledge-hub/financial-analysis/dupont-analysis-a-pyramid-of-ratios/

**Problems associated with Dupont Pyramid:**

However, there are some drawbacks associated with using Dupont Pyramid. To start with, it emphasizes a lot on the ROE while there are others Profitability ratios so focussing to much on ROE may overlook critical factors. Also, as any financial ratios, Dupont analysis relies on historical data, so it may not always indicate well what is going to happen in future. This problem of not being able to predict future also partially arises from the fact that Dupont Pyramid is a purely quantitative tool and does not account for qualitative factors such as changes in the industry, market conditions, competition, or regulatory environment. So, although it may be good indicator of business performance it shouldn’t be used alone and other metrics and factors should be taken into account by different stakeholders before reaching any conclusions.

Sources - Finance for non-financial professionals by UCI, coursera

I wonder, in your opinion, what is a healthy debt-to-equity ratio of a company (Debt-Equity Ratio)? for example, if the ratio has approached 1:1, is this already a dangerous level for the company, or not yet?